On any given day in the fall of 2007, John Edwards could be heard preaching his populist prose to Iowa voters who eagerly packed into lumber barns, VFW halls and Culver restaurants across the state.
His message was less about the two Americas of his 2004 campaign -- the haves and the have-nots -- and more about fighting for the middle class and ending poverty in America.
The Democratic candidate had spent nearly all of 2007 logging days in Iowa traveling across the state's 99 counties. He had every reason to believe he could be president. He felt the country would let then-Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama destroy each other and he would rise as the more experienced and safe nominee.
To many voters, Edwards could have been president of the United States. Five years later, the possibilities for Edwards are completely different.
Edwards' criminal trial begins Monday in Greensboro, North Carolina.
He is charged with six felony and misdemeanor counts related to the money dealings of his failed presidential campaign.
Among other things, the government alleges that Edwards "knowingly and willfully" received nearly $1 million in illegal campaign contributions to hide his pregnant mistress from the public so he could continue his presidential bid. Edwards acknowledges that while his actions were wrong, they were not illegal. He could face up to 30 years in prison.
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